How I Met Your Mother
knows how to forward their story. Sitcoms don't work like other shows – there's generally no forward momentum to a continuing story line over the course of a season. In every season, there will be a few episodes here and there with major, significant plot points. The problem that often arrives is that sitcom writers will clunkily write the plot-filled episodes. The laughs will come up short, or a major plot point will feel glossed over too quickly. How I Met Your Mother
is an exception, and they are able to intelligently create episodes, like tonight's, that get their story told efficiently while being innovative and, most importantly, while keeping it all hilarious.
I always talk about How I Met Your Mother's
story structure, but that's because it always bears mentioning. Tonight was no different. If you dissect the episode, you'll find that there were really only two scenes. The first was at the bar, the second with Marshall on the street and then in Ted's car. From those scenes, there were various flashbacks and fantasies, most of which were awesome. Marshall quitting his job is a significant event, and I like the possibilities for where the writers can take it. Also, money problems are always ripe for plot lines. I am upset, however, that Ted's car is gone after only one episode.
Before we talk about the funny stuff, I'd like to give props for how the show handled Marshall's corporate despair. They didn't sugar coat the situation and while, yeah, it was played for laughs (it's a sitcom, after all) Marshall's despair was very real. When Marshall initially took the job at the evil law firm, they set it up in a way that it wasn't a cop out to Marshall's ideals. He had to take care of his wife and he needed money. But, keeping him in a situation he hated and made him unhappy would have been a cop out. Marshall's character is based on his idealism, and it was great to see him finally break down and quit even if it sends his life into a bit of a tailspin. So, kudos to the writers for the treatment of tonight's story.
So much great stuff in the episode, I don't really know where to begin. Marshall's boss was played by the great Bob Odenkirk, and though I'm not sure they made the most of his presence, he was involved in some great fantasy sequences (best one: Robin with her gun) and got to do some spittle-filled yelling. I love the mystery behind Barney's job, and the more I learn, the more I like it: they are allies with North Korea, the meetings are a joke (Barney playing on his phone the whole time), and Barney constantly gets yelled at (even by his Korean partners).
I think special commendation needs to be given to the car scene, if only for the entrances of Robin and Barney. It was so over-the-top, but when Robin entered the car with her over-sized ice cream cone, I was on the floor. Ted's intense focus on keeping his new car clean during a big life moment for Marshall was hilarious, but also realistic. And, of course, the throw-in episode long joke of Lily being horny was a winner.
In case you were wondering, the picture above is the actual Chain of Screaming for Barney, from Barney's blog.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)